Polk County District Attorney, Lee Hon, urged the jury to not only find Paul Welch guilty, but pleaded with them to hand down maximum punishment for Welch's violent behavior towards others.
Jury Finds Paul Welch Guilty, Summarily Hands Down 50 Years, LIVINGSTON, March 7, 2012 - On the afternoon of March 7, 2012, a Polk County Jury found defendant Paul Welch guilty of attempted capital murder of multiple victims. The jury reached its unanimous decision relatively quickly (less than an hour). In closing arguments, Polk County Criminal District Attorney, Lee Hon, urged the jury to reach a verdict of guilty of the charges leveled against Welch "What would've happened had Deputy Burkes not been there?" Hon asked the jury. Hon continued "He would've walked up there and killed everyone, just like he said he was going to do". Hon further stated, "He is in every respect, guilty of attempted capital murder". Welch's attorney tried to focus on reasonable doubt pointing out that when Welch pulled the trigger on his shotgun, he could've hit the porch that had several people standing on it, but instead opted to hit Burkes' county vehicle. Immediately following the trial, the court went into punishment phase. Hon told the jury "...we always hear people saying how come something doesn't get done about violent crimes, well, today you have the chance to do something. Today you can make a difference and keep Paul Welch from ever hurting anyone ever again", he said, "...I pray that you'll give him 99 years" Hon concluded. After hearing arguments from the defense and the prosecutor, the jury was again speedy and reached its decision in less than an hour and handed down 50 years in prison to Welch and tacked on a $10,000 fine. Welch (now 40) has to serve at least half of that (25 years) before being eligible for parole. Welch stood seemingly emotionless both when the verdict of guilty was handed down and the punishment of 50 years. Following the trial, District Attorney Lee Hon stated to PolkCountyToday.com that he was very happy with the jury "I'm very happy" he said, "The Polk County Jury showed that they're pretty tough on crime".
Paul Welch has a history of violent behavior:
Welch was charged with assault/family violence in 1998
Welch was charged with assault/family violence again in 1999
In 2001 Welch assaulted a State Trooper (caused injuries to Trooper's face and neck) and received 5 years probation
In 2007 he was charged with reckless boating on Lake Livingston
Welch's expression at the moment he received 50 years confined to TDC (welch is pictured at left standing with his lawyer).
Day 1 of Paul Welch Trial Below
Paul Welch (left) listens with his attorney as Sergeant Jay Burks testifies from the witness stand.
Man Being Tried For Attempted Capital Murder, LIVINGSTON, March 6, 2012 - On the morning of March 6, 2012, the trial of 40 year old Paul Welch got underway in District Judge Robert Trapp's District Court. Welch is being tried for multiple counts of attempted capital murder in the July 24, 2011 incident in which Welch was allegedly having an ongoing dispute with his wife and reportedly threatened to come to her residence with the intent of starting trouble. Reserve Deputy Sergeant Jay Burks was dispatched to the residence to investigate. As Burks was standing on the porch speaking with occupants of the house, Welch pulled up in a car and began firing a shotgun from the road in the direction of Burks and the house (the house had people in it). Deputy Burks returned fire with his handgun. During the exchange, Burks' county vehicle was struck by buck shot allegedly from Welch's shotgun. Welch was allegedly intoxicated when the incident occurred. The trial is expected do wrap up tomorrow (March 7, 2012). If found guilty, Welch will be facing 5 - 99 years in prison, or life in prison.